Proffesional Athletes High Salaries and Their Effects on Society
In past generations and today’s society, sports in America have played an important role in the shaping of American culture from one generation to the next. Whether it be the general pastime of baseball keeping Americans on the edges of their seats watching «The Babe» smack another homerun or the high flying stars of basketball such as «Dr. J» influencing athletes to reach for their goals, professional sports in America have been shaping our culture with every passing generation. Along with that, the continuous ability of professional sports to develop has lead to the influence that they have on the American culture, creating idols and heroes out of human athletes that people of any generation can relate and look up to. However, the harsh reality of the past 50 years in the change of America’s is that these professional sports have become less set on pastimes and games, but more business oriented whose main goal is set on making money.
The majority of people in America feel that pro athlete’s salaries are too high. Current sports salary contracts are becoming enormous figures. Players are signing 50 million-dollar contracts and up just because they happen to be pretty good at hitting a baseball or shooting a basketball. For example, Kevin Garnett is an18 year old basketball player who had taken the A.C.T test four times in High School, failing all four times and had also taken the S.A.T test once and failed. Kevin decided that he would not go to any college even though he was the highly recruited number one basketball player in the nation, and could have had a scholarship to any college he wanted. So his decision took him to the NBA draft, where he was selected as the fifth pick to the Minnesota Timberwolves.The Timberwolves signed him to a 3 year $5.6 Million dollar contract to play for their team. Every year one hears of some new name, some new player in the sports news getting a new record contract which sets a much higher mark and blows away the high salary from the year before. So who’s fault is it that these men and women are getting paid more and more? Most fingers point to the peoples way, the fans way. The fans are the ones that go to these sporting events pay $50 dollars for a ticket, $100 dollars for a jacket, and $20 dollars for a hat of our favorite teams. Americans are the ones who support these teams and the players. The reason ticket prices keep going up is because money is needed to pay all of our great players. Ticket prices do not help that the pro sports programs know that we will pay these prices no matter how ridiculous they increase them. Now pro sports are fun to watch and track, but college games entertain a crowd just as well and they are not being paid a dime.
Sports are some of the oldest activities humans participate in that can be traced back thousands of years, but only recently have they emerged as a problem that effects everyone regardless of if they follow or even like them. Today the average worker in Canada earns about 45-thousand dollars per year. Compared to the salaries professional athletes make, it is only a minor amount. The average professional athlete makes at least 100 thousand dollars a year and some of them do not even participate in a single game for their team. Athletes make more on average then professionals from many other fields, such as medicine and law. Salaries really have lost every sense of reason. «In 1976 the average ball player earned eight times the US average income. In 1991 the average ballplayer earned forty-seven times the average US income» (Zimbalist ?). These absurd salaries leave consequences and impacts in their path. These consequences and impacts land on the laps of millions of taxpayers across the world. In today’s world of «money equals power finance», these athletes have a giant hold on the media and many vulnerable people, especially today’s youth.
The jobs that drive our country through everyday life such as medicine, have rules when it comes to salaries. A doctor who can work over 300 days per year has a cap on his salary that falls not much higher than the average athlete’s salary. These specialists work together to make the world a better place to live. Athletes on the other hand do not help the world, all they do is entertain the people and satisfy what they want. The professionals, on the other hand, satisfy needs of people, whether it is surgery or a lawsuit. People can learn to adapt without sports, but it would be almost impossible for a community to function properly without doctors.
Another problem with athlete’s million dollar salaries is that the money used to pay them comes out of the pocket of the taxpayer. Not only are ticket prices unreasonable, but once inside the stadium both food and products have extra taxes added in. Maybe athletes should give some of the money they make back into the economy to make the viewers’ sporting experience less expensive. Athletes should be held responsible by helping to fund stadiums, and by giving more money to charity.
The economics involved in sports today hurts the fans, some teams, and the leagues themselves. The sports leagues can actually be hurt by there own actions. The past’s NBA lockout was a prime example of money ruining of what could have been a great year. The owners were locking out the players until they could settle on a bunch of points. The baseball strike a few years back obviously hurt baseball as well. John Donovan from CNN/SI summed it up perfectly, «You have greedy owners and you have greedy players, all of them fighting over absurd amounts of money. And, in the end, it’s the fans who get screwed»
Money problems have and will continue to scar sports and more importantly the fans. What should you tell a little kid who loves basketball, when his favorite player is playing golf somewhere instead? High price players effect fans more than one might think. According to Richard Amrhine, «The Los Angeles Lakers offered Shaquille O’Neal $123 million over seven years. The deal will help push tickets for the so-called cheap seats at the LA Forum from $9 to $20.» That is ridiculous, now the average family has to spend a fortune just to go see a game. Relocation seems to be the new thing for teams to do nowadays. In order for a team to be good they must buy good players. If they don’t make a profit they must move. The best example of this would be the Cleveland Browns. Despite having some of the most loyal fans in the world, the owner decided to move to Baltimore, hoping to make a profit. Once again money problems coming from high salaries comes between fans and their beloved game. If the trend in sports doesn’t change, one would have to think that attendance is going to drop. Sports are becoming more popular but more and more people are going to have to watch the games on TV. Prices for tickets are rising pretty steadily and there are more and more premium seats being placed around the arenas. How can the average family afford to go to a game for 4 people it will cost well over $100? Not to mention the high end prices for food and drinks. Pro sports may soon become entertainment for the rich.
On the field money is just a fraction of what some players get. In 1996 Michael Jordan made 12.6 million dollars, but since image is everything he made $40 million just in endorsements in one year! All because some companies believe his face will help them sell their product. Sports athletes are hot merchandise. Everywhere one looks there is a sports related endorsement. Some companies rely only on sports figures to advertise their product even if it has nothing to do with sports, such as: Wheatees and Campbell Soup.
One of the main problems in today’s world is a child being influenced in the wrong way. Some of the bad influences appear from professional athletes that ignore the impact they make. Sports stars like Mike Tyson, Marty McSorley, and Darryl Strawberry all have committed chargeable criminal offences. Whether it is drug violation or sexual assault, it seems that the money is making these players behave badly. If Americans pay these players millions of dollars to entertain us, then it would be great if they could stay out of jail long enough so that the fans can see them play. Most of them end up getting out of prison and found not guilty of the crime because of who they are, how much they are worth, or how powerful they are. Would anyone want their children growing up to be drug users, rapists, or to make a living hurting people? Children can not avoid these influences because they are everywhere throughout the media staring at them.
Professional Athletes are making overly large amounts of money in a society thats salaries and wages are traditionally based on the values of ones work. Pro-athletes make great sums of money that could be spent better elsewhere. Not only do athletes abuse their privileges, but they also look at them as if they are a right. What is the world coming to when athletes are being paid huge paychecks to have a negative effect on the community that depends on them?